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Gulutzan, Flames have unwavering faith in Elliott

Glen Gulutzan is confident Brian Elliott will bounce back from Wednesday's loss with a big game on Friday

by George Johnson @GeorgejohnsonCH / CalgaryFlames.com

CALGARY, AB -- The reflex-action to maybe reach for the ol' Mike Keenan vaudeville hook was never a viable option for Glen Gulutzan.

Not after Goal No. 1.

Not after Goal No. 2.

Not after Goal No. 5, either.

"I never thought of it all,'' confessed the Calgary Flames' coach. "I just didn't think we played well enough in front of him to give ourselves a chance.

"So, no, never crossed my mind."

Brian Elliott is Gulutzan's No. 1. Wednesday may not have been the debut the 31-year-old had daydreamed of in Flames' silks - six goals allowed on 26 shots in a 7-4 opening-night loss at Edmonton - but you're not prying him out the net this early in the game, not even with a carton of nitro-glycerine.

Goaltenders need confidence, even proven ones, successful ones, such as Brian Elliott. As Gulutzan fully understands from experience.

"When you look,'' he reminded the late-leaving media stragglers on Thursday, "at the best goalies to have played - whether they were in the playoffs or not - they'd have their games where they weren't themselves … but you know that the good ones do?

"They come back strong.''

So Elliott scoots back between the pipes for Friday's rematch against the Edmonton Oilers, Calgary's home opener.

Meaning local product Chad Johnson will have to leave his Flames' Scotiabank Saddledome regular season debut for another day.

"It's an opportunity to redeem yourself and get right back at it,'' said Elliott following Thursday's workout. "You can't dwell on it too much.

"We had a really good practice, a lot of tape-to-tape, tic-tac-toe.

"That's good news for tomorrow.

"We can't play into their strengths. We've gotta get the puck down low and our best defence is going to be in the offensive zone.

"If we turn pucks over at the blueline or have a couple bad changes, they're going to capitalize, create chances. So just stick to our game plan."

While studying what went awry up north is certainly beneficial, and essential, dwelling on the outcome is nothing more than wasted time and energy.

"A lot of the things, would I do differently?'' asked Elliott. "Probably not. And you still get scored on.

"It's just one of those things where you have to take some notes and learn from it, but put it in your back pocket and move on.

"With the circumstances, you want to go into that new building and ruin their opening night and win one for us right off the bat.

"That obviously didn't work out and that's hard to take. But, like I said, we have a chance to redeem ourselves.

"Everything that happens is in this room, we're a group together and it'll say that way no matter what."

Even though stat line certainly didn't wind up being flattering Gulutzan wasn't laying blame at his goaltender's doorstep.

"You look at the first goal. Deflected, right? We bounced back, he came to the bench and he was giving the guys encouragement.

"He was 'in' it. He was dialed in. And I have full confidence in him.

"Not every one is a Picasso.

"He's a veteran guy. We have a lot of confidence in him as a group.

"I have no worries."

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